Paul Douglas

Odds Favor Hotter Than Average Summer

Welcome to “Meteorological Summer”. Forget the calendar on the wall (or on your phone) because as far as the atmosphere is concerned summer begins closer to June 1. That’s right. If you look at historical data, the 90 warmest days of the year run from June 1 to September 1.

The Summer Solstice, when the sun is highest in the sky and days are longest, arrives June 21, but our hottest weather of the summer usually comes in mid-July.

May brought two days above 90F at MSP. According to Minnesota Senior Climatologist Dr. Kenny Blumenfeld, when we have 2 or more days of 90s in May roughly 70% of the following summers are hotter than average. Last summer was the hottest on record for MSP with 26 days above 90.

We shall see.

Expect comfortable sunshine into Friday, followed by a period of rain on Saturday. I tried to pay extra for a nice Saturday but Mother Nature wasn’t interest. Sunday looks nicer with low 70s and sunshine.

I’m not complaining: “Alex” may soak Florida with soaking rains on Saturday.

So far this year, the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities has issued a combined total of 228 warnings through May 31.
Twin Cities National Weather Service

Record Number of Minnesota Severe Storm and Tornado Warnings, To Date. It’s not your imagination, after a few relatively quiet years sirens have been sounding far more than average, in fact we’ve set a record as of May 31. has the post; here’s an excerpt: “…Well, so far this year, the National Weather Service office in the Twin Cities has issued a combined total of 228 warnings through May 31. That is by far the most warnings issued by the office to this point in the season since these records began getting tracked in 1986. While there isn’t a direct correlation between the number of warnings issued and how much damage occurred because of the severe storms, it does paint a pretty stark picture of just how volatile the atmosphere has been so far this year...”

A view of the destruction in Forada.
NWS Twin Cities

NWS Confirms That Long-Track Tornado Ripped Through Minnesota. Bring Me The News has details: “The National Weather Service has confirmed numerous tornadoes from the Memorial Day severe weather outbreak in Minnesota, including a long-track twister that carved a path through at least four counties – and it’s possible that it was the same twister that caused severe damage in the small town of Forada. No town was hit harder than Forada. The small community of 160 residents, nestled on the northeast shore of Maple Lake and about five miles south of Alexandria, was pounded by maximum swirling winds of 120 mph, making it an EF2 tornado. According to the NWS, there was evidence of the tornado being a half-mile wide with multiple vortices. The Storm Prediction Center defines multiple-vortex tornadoes as a tornado containing smaller, rapidly spinning subvortices that can add over 100 mph to the ground-relative wind in a tornado circulation…”

Thursday Future Clouds/Radar

Temperatures Trend Cooler Than Average Into Next Week. Where is full-frontal summer, sustained 80s and 90s? Odds are it’s still coming, but persistent winds blowing out of Canada (vs. Kansas) will keep Minnesota a few degrees cooler than average as far out as I care to look. Saturday looks like the wettest day in sight with 4-7 hours of rain in many towns.

ECMWF Temperatures for MSP
NOAA GFS Temperatures for MSP

Nagging La Nina Cool Signal Northern Tier of US. If (a big if) NOAA’s GFS model verifies a cool bias may in fact linger into mid-June. I’m not convinced of this just yet, but there’s little doubt that temperatures run cooler than average into next week, while most of the USA sizzles.

Twin Cities National Weather Service

Sandy Point Lodge and Resort has experienced major flooding in recent days.
Sandy Point

Historic Flooding Causes Widespread Problems for Northern Minnesota. has the story: “Rising water levels across the Rainy River Basin this month have caused widespread flooding for resorts, cabin owners and residents in northern Minnesota, disrupting the start of the summer vacation schedule and creating uncertainty over the next several weeks. According to the National Weather Service, conditions have caused a “historic flood that has already exceeded the records set in the 2014 flooding, and could break all-time records” for some areas. The Rainy River Basin incorporates parts of northern Minnesota and Ontario, covering a wide swath of land from Lake of the Woods all the way east past Ely…”

A tornado destroyed this home in Sawyerville, Alabama, on March 25, 2021.

NOAA Researchers Seek to Learn More About Tornado Experiences to Improve Safety. NOAA has the post; here’s the intro: “Has a tornado hit your house or your community? Have you received a tornado alert? NOAA scientists want to hear your story. The new Tornado Tales citizen science tool is an online survey that provides a way for people to anonymously report their tornado experiences. Developed by researchers at the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), the tool will be used to better understand how people receive, interpret and respond to tornado information from NOAA. The survey asks basic questions to collect information about an individual’s responses to warnings and watches, including how they prepared for and monitored the weather and what safe space they used to shelter when a warning was issued by NOAA’s National Weather Service. This information can help NOAA identify areas where warning messages may not be resulting in the most safe and effective actions. This knowledge will help NOAA hone safety messages...”

Dr. Grace Yan talks with her students about the importance of S&T’s tornado simulator in understanding how tornadoes destroy homes, schools and other structures.

Missouri S&T Tornado Simulator Helps Researchers Investigate Structure Failure. I need one of these. Missouri S&T has the story: “Tornadoes are so violent they often destroy sensors intended to record wind speed and pressure on commercial buildings, schools and homes, so there is no current technology to measure their real wind speed. Researchers at Missouri S&T are bringing tornadoes into the lab with a new simulator to model extreme cyclonic wind speeds and study how tornadoes destroy structures. The findings could then be used to update existing structures and influence new construction. “Currently, post-storm damage surveys are the primary way to determine a tornado’s strength using the EF scale,” says Dr. Grace Yan, associate professor of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T. “With the simulator, we can reproduce real-world tornadoes in the lab environment to discover the true failure mechanisms in civil structures...”

Summer Not Your Favorite Time of Year? You’re Not Alone. Another heaping serving of summer, please. has the post: “…This one surprised me a little bit. Most people prefer warmer to cooler weather, and I always remembered summer being free time. Yet just 29% of Americans said summer was their favorite season in a 2020 CBS News poll. Fall (27%) and spring (25%) were right within the margin of error. A previous CBS News poll from 2013 had spring and summer tied at 33% for favorite season. Polling often doesn’t show any of the meteorological summer months (June, July or August) to be the favorite of Americans. Frequently, it’s May, October or December. Of course, there are regional variations. Americans in the northern part of the country are far more likely to list summer as their favorite season than those in the South. Southerners are more likely to list spring…”

CNN Business News

Tesla Has Real Competition. Check out the video from CNN Business News: “Lucid Motors won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award with its first ever vehicle, the Lucid Air. CNN’s Peter Valdes-Dapena explains why this 1000-horse power electric vehicle should have Tesla scared…”

Ford Motor Company

Humble Bee Bio

Bioplastic from Bees? A post at TechCrunch caught my eye: “Humble Bee Bio is on a mission to create a biodegradable alternative to plastics by synthesizing the biology of bees. While the New Zealand-based company is still at an early stage — it’s about halfway through its proof of concept — if Humble Bee is successful, its bioplastics are likely to make it into the sustainable textiles industry. Humble Bee, which just raised $3.2 million (NZD $5 million) in convertible notes as part of its Series A, has been studying the Australian masked bee, a type of solitary bee that doesn’t make honey, but does make a nesting material for laying larvae in, which has many plastic-like properties...”

his collection of 36 images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope features galaxies that are all hosts to both Cepheid variables and supernovae.

NASA Says “Something Weird” is Happening in the Universe. No kidding. Here’s a clip from a story at “…Scientists have been studying new data from the Hubble telescope, and they say that the universe’s expansion rate is much quicker than previously thought. The research has found that to a precision rate of just over 1%, the universe will double in size in 10 billion years. Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, shared that the measurements they are now getting are more accurate than ever before. “You are getting the most precise measure of the expansion rate for the universe from the gold standard of telescopes and cosmic mile markers,” Reiss said...”


Finding Nearby Breweries. Finally, something useful on the interwebs, courtesy of BeerBase.

OpenTheBooks Substack

Next Life I’m Coming Back as a Lifeguard. Or more specifically, a Los Angeles lifeguard. OpenTheBooks Substack has the crazy details: “…Who knew that LA lifeguards—who work in the sun, ocean surf, and golden sands of California— could reap such unbelievable financial reward? It’s time we put Baywatch on pay watch. In 2019, we found top-paid lifeguards made up to $392,000. Unfortunately, today, the pay and benefits are even more lucrative. Daniel Douglas was the most highly paid and earned $510,283, an increase from $442,712 in 2020. As the “lifeguard captain,” he out-earned 1,000 of his peers: salary ($150,054), perks ($28,661), benefits ($85,508), and a whopping $246,060 in overtime pay…”

70 F. Twin Cities high temperature yesterday.

75 F. Average MSP high on June 1.

79 F. MSP high on June 1, 2021.

June 2, 1945: Snow and sleet pile up to 4.5 inches at Tower.

June 2, 1898: Heavy rain falls across Minnesota. Just over 7 inches is reported at Pine River Dam.

THURSDAY: Partly sunny, breezy. Isolated shower north. Winds: W 10-20. High: 73

FRIDAY: Sunny, a bit cooler. Winds: NW 10-20. Wake-up: 50. High: 69

SATURDAY: Rain likely. Winds: SE 5-10. Wake-up: 52. High: 63

SUNDAY: Better. Partly sunny skies. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 51. High: 68

MONDAY: More clouds than sunshine. Winds: E 5-10. Wake-up: 56. High: 67

TUESDAY: Intervals of sun, probably dry. Winds: S 7-12. Wake-up: 58. High: near 70

WEDNESDAY: Showers, grumbles of thunder. Winds: NW 10-15. Wake-up: 57. High: 67

Climate Stories…

Climate Central

The Heat is On. Climate Central looks at the trends: “Climate Central looked at 52 years (1970-2021) of summer temperature data in 246 U.S. locations, and found that:

  • Average summer temperatures are rising. 96% (235) of the locations analyzed had an increase in average summer temperature. 53% (126 of 235) of those locations warmed by 2°F or more.
  • Summer warming was greatest in the western and southwestern U.S. The three greatest increases in summer average temperatures since 1970 were in Reno, Nev. (10.9°F), Las Vegas, Nev. (5.8°F), and Boise, Idaho (5.6°F).
  • More summer days above normal. Since 1970, 81% (200) of locations had 7 or more days above their 1991-2020 summer normal temperature. And 37 locations had 30 or more summer days above normal...”
Climate Central

Network of Wildfire Cameras is Expanding. Popular Science reports: “Across the Western United States, there’s a network of cameras streaming images of mountain peaks, coastal communities, quiet suburbs, and thick forests, revealing dramatic sunrises and the occasional wildlife encounter. The 24/7 feeds are free and accessible online, provided with the hope that the public will not only tune in but also look out for signs of smoke or a spark, potentially helping alert authorities about blazes before they pose a threat to communities. Over the past decade, this ALERTWildfire network has grown from a few cameras around Lake Tahoe to about 1,000 in seven states, as well as some in Australia. The goal is to provide officials with an easily-accessible source of intel in fire-prone areas, often offering a multi-angle view of wildfires and, as of recently, utilizing AI to act as an additional analysis tool…”

File image

Climate Research: Ultra-fine Dust Might Cause Weather Extremes. Here’s an excerpt of a post at “Strong precipitation or extreme drought – the frequency of extreme weather events is increasing worldwide. Existing climate models, however, do not adequately show their dynamics. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) assume that ultrafine particles in the atmosphere have a significant impact on cloud physics and, hence, on weather. Their aircraft measurements confirm an increase in particle number emissions in spite of a decreasing coarse fine dust concentration and blame it to the combustion of fossil fuels in exhaust gas cleaning systems. Their results can be found in Scientific Reports: According to latest reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC for short, weather extremes, such as droughts and strong precipitation, will increase in future…”

Sailors man the rails while the destroyer Winston Churchill exits Norfolk, Va., as Hurricane Dorian nears in 2019. The Department of the Navy’s climate change strategy seeks to lower department emissions while preparing troops to operate in new conditions.

“In the Crosshairs”: Department of Navy Releases Climate Change Strategy. explains why the US Navy is concerned about a rapidly changing climate: “The Department of the Navy this week released its strategy for how it will deal with climate change and proceed toward the government’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. “Climate change is one of the most destabilizing forces of our time, exacerbating other national security concerns and posing serious readiness challenges,” Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in the introduction to the 32-page report. “Our naval and amphibious forces are in the crosshairs of the climate crisis and this strategy provides the framework to empower us to meaningfully reduce the threat of climate change.” Setting the department on a course to combat climate change is a main priority of Del Toro’s tenure. He called the issue “existential” for the Navy and Marine Corps...”

Workers assembling some of the four poloidal field coils, which will make up part of the magnetic field cage necessary to contain the plasma. Each measures between 22 and 24 meters in diameter.

Bottling the Sun. Are we any closer to clean, abundant fusion energy? takes a deep dive: “From a small hill in the southern French region of Provence, you can see two suns. One has been blazing for four-and-a-half billion years and is setting. The other is being built by thousands of human minds and hands, and is — far more slowly — rising. The last of the real sun’s evening rays cast a magical glow over the other — an enormous construction site that could solve the biggest existential crisis in human history. It is here, in the tiny commune of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, that 35 countries have come together to try and master nuclear fusion, a process that occurs naturally in the sun — and all stars — but is painfully difficult to replicate on Earth. Fusion promises a virtually limitless form of energy that, unlike fossil fuels, emits zero greenhouse gases and, unlike the nuclear fission power used today, produces no long-life radioactive waste. Mastering it could literally save humanity from climate change, a crisis of our own making…”

What is The First Movers Coalition? In many cases corporations are out ahead of government in implementing strategies and new technologies to get to net zero GHG emissions (faster). Here’s an overview: “The First Movers Coalition is a global initiative harnessing the purchasing power of companies to decarbonize seven “hard to abate” industrial sectors that currently account for 30% of global emissions: Aluminum, Aviation, Chemicals, Concrete, Shipping, Steel, and Trucking; along with innovative Carbon Removal technologies. The 50+ companies who make up the Coalition seek to send a powerful market signal to commercialize zero-carbon technologies. The First Movers Coalition’s unique approach assembles ambitious corporate purchasing pledges across the heavy industry and long-distance transport sectors responsible for a third of global emissions. For these sectors to decarbonize at the speed needed to keep the planet on a 1.5-degree pathway, they require low-carbon technologies that are not yet competitive with current carbon-intensive solutions but must reach commercial scale by 2030 to achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050...”